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User:Hansm/Evan

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I'm sure it was a lapse that Evan has moved our discussion onto an orphaned page. To keep it in the tree of articles, I link it from here: User talk:Evan/Hansm.

And to be realy sure, I also copy it:


(Copy from User talk:Evan/Hansm):

Resignation of German go-between and admin[edit]

After a long time of thinking, I have decided to ask you to toggle off my de: admin flag. I also resign formaly from beeing de: go-betweeen. I never had been elected and my name always served as a placeholder for the basicaly vacant go-between. The past has shown that go-between tasks can be done by several de: users, whoever feels responsible. I have anounced my decision 14 days ago on de: and have asked for new go-between candidates. Since nobody volunteered, there is no official de: go-between now. -- Hansm 04:37, 1 July 2006 (EDT)

Done! I'm sorry to hear that you won't be working as a de: admin anymore, but I hope you'll still have some time to participate. I know you never wanted to do the job in the first place, and I appreciate that you put as much time as you did into it. Thanks. --Evan 12:35, 1 July 2006 (EDT)
Thanks. I want to keep my normal user account. I suppose you already have noticed that I run a small wiki to organize a project fork. Together with some german speaking wikitravellers we try to build up a democraticaly organized non-profit association according to german law. If we succeed, a multilingual alternative to wikitravel.org is planed. We would like to cooperate with wikitravel if wikitravel.org doesn't regard us as a rival. If we don't succeed, I intend to contribute to wikitravel/de occasionaly, provided that advertising is limited to an acceptable dose and the organisatorical structures turn out to be as transparent as they claim to be. -- Hansm 17:32, 1 July 2006 (EDT)
I didn't change your normal user account, I just lowered the privileges. You should still be able to login and edit as normal, you just won't be able to do administrator things like deleting and protecting articles, banning users, or rolling back changes.
I think organizing a member-run non-profit association of contributors is an excellent idea, and I hope that works out. I wonder: have you considered operating your non-profit as an independent users group (like a Linux users group) rather taking on the expense and responsibility of running your own servers? I'm pretty sure a lot of Wikitravellers would participate in a WUG.
I don't think a fork is the best thing for travellers or contributors. Please, tell me why you think that working on Wikitravel is sufficiently unendurable to justify trying to make a fork. I'd like to correct whatever the problem is and avoid splitting the time and effort of travel contributors. --Evan 00:50, 2 July 2006 (EDT)


I don't understand your suggestion to operate like an independent users group. What we'll need is a dedicated server to run the wikis. I never have heard that users groups get paid a server from somebody.

I think you already know quite well our concerns. So, I'll keep it short:

There are things you cannot correct any more since you have sold your control over wikitravel.org:

  • Independance from profit oriented organisation.
  • Democratic community decissions not only about contence, but even about
    • how the server(s) are maintained,
    • whether advertising is necessary or not,
    • how db-dumps are made available,
    • which server-provider is choosen,
    • who has to administrate the server(s),
    • what features should be implemented and how this should be done.

Some other things you maybe could improve even on wikitravel.org:

  • More equality in the rights of the language versions. Seperate the english version from making decisions that affect all other language versions. Those decisions have to be elaborated on shared: or review:, not on en:
  • More support for non-english versions.
  • More authonomie for language versions, i.e.
    • elected Bureaucrats, not only Evan,
    • access to its wiki-configuration and its db for some elected admins.
  • Accept that there are many wikitravellers that are able to write Mediawiki extensions, some probably better than Evan.
  • Discuss new ideas or improvements for features before having them implemented yourself.
  • Accept that some development of features needs a master plan rather than tinkering one next to the other without having an idea how the final result will look like. This requires open minded discussions in advance.

-- Hansm 05:11, 2 July 2006 (EDT)

Originally posted as interlaced comments; removed to blocks per request, see User talk:Evan/Hansm for an interlaced version.
The idea is that if your concern is about user input into the process, you spend your time, money, and effort on that, rather than on servers and developers. It sounds like you have a social problem (user decision making, mostly on de: but also on other Wikitravel versions) and a technical solution (servers, DBs, MediaWiki).
[...] No, actually, I don't. I've tried to follow your conversations in German through Google Translate, but we haven't talked directly about them. I appreciate that you've taken the time to present your case here. Direct communications are the best way to get problems taken care of!
[...] I don't think I was clear; I meant that I'd like us to work together to correct the problems, not that I would correct them unilaterally by fiat. There are many other voices that should be heard, which is why an open conversation is needed.
[...] One nice thing about the ToC discussion was finding out that this is really important for German culture. At least in the USA, and some other parts of the world, there's more of a feeling that Open Source and Open Content, and community interaction, can be developed using a commercial platform (SourceForge, Wikia). I think my point about starting a WUG is that you could have this independence, member voting, etc., without having the expense of running your own servers and the effort of building up an anti-brand. You could continue the work and momentum that's gone into making Wikitravel well-known.
I won't bother you with this idea again; it wouldn't be very "independent" if you did it exactly how I said! B-)
[...] So, I think we've tried to address these things over the last few weeks with the Wikitravel:Technical infrastructure policy for Wikitravel; everybody on Wikitravel has a voice in how the software works. w/r/t advertising, when the time comes that there's going to be advertising on Wikitravel, there will be a discussion on how it works. If someone thinks that discussion needs to be started now, they're free to create Wikitravel talk:Advertising policy.
I think there is a line we've drawn in the infrastructure policy between things that readers and contributors see (UI features, performance), and stuff they don't see (layout of config files on the servers, backup schedule). I think the Wikitravel community's attention and effort is best spent working on the goals of the project, not on running a Web server like a kibbutz. I don't know of a site that runs this way; I know in particular that Wikimedia Foundation's technical infrastructure is not determined by majority vote.
[...] I think this is a valid principle, but I'm not sure what it would mean in practice.
[...] That's a great idea. I like that a lot. I don't think that it would make sense on review, since the whole point of that site is to be a scratchpad; I want to be able to replace its DB and language interface with copies from other languages as needed. So it would probably have to be shared:. What kinds of decisions would move there? Technical ones (bug reports, feature requests), or others, too? I could see some of the multi-lingual policies go out there, as well as language version expeditions.
[...] Support in terms of technical support? Or other kinds of support?
[...] Riggwelter brought this up earlier. Now that we're up to the same version (just about) as the Wikimedia servers, we can do this. I'd love to see this job joined with being a go-between.
[...] I wonder if making technical requests faster would make this unnecessary. I'll be honest: I'd be very concerned about that.
[...] I accept the fact that many people can write MW extensions, but I challenge anyone who thinks they can do it better than me to a programming shoot-out. B-) On a serious note, I wonder if there's a point to this, though. Do you think we should have a more formal policy about accepting code submissions from Wikitravellers and others? Or about scripts?
[...] I think that's been the big lesson from the ToC move. That's why we have a review site and why Maj and I have moved our programming projects to Wikitravel:Feature requests.
[...] I guess that this comes particularly from your experience with the Wikitravel:RDF Expedition. This is actually a software development philosophy question, and I much prefer getting software developed and rolled out for review quickly rather than getting bogged down in a master plan. The idea is that you should deal with the problems you have now, and don't borrow problems from the future, and you'll save time and effort because you may never actually have those future problems. I think with respect to the RDF Expedition there's still a lot of architectural work to be done, which might mean re-writing some of the stuff that's been done already. I think that encapsulating RDF in templates makes this much easier to do.
[...] To summarize: overall, I think you have some very good ideas, especially regarding the role of en: and other language versions. At least to begin with, I'm going to copy a few of them to the Wikitravel:Language version policy and Wikitravel:Technical infrastructure policy talk pages.
[...] I'd suggest that you continue to work with me and Maj, IB, the en: community and the other Wikitravel language version communities to see if we can work out these problems together. Many of them sound workable to me, and although I'd have problems with others, I'd like to think we can come to some reasonable compromises. --Evan 11:36, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Fine, at least some of my points seem to initiate some reflections about how to handle things on WT. I'm happy if I could help Wikitravel with some inputs from my experience with de:. Now about some details:
One nice thing about the ToC discussion was... --- Just compare http://www.greenhybrid.com/ , one of IB's comunity driven sites, and http://www.wikia.com . See the difference? Blatend banners right at the top! This is more than just a question of mentality. Wikia is run by Wikimedia bord members who know quite well what it does mean to work on a wiki. IB is run by advertising specialists. However, no need for me any more to discuss about this point.
So, I think we've tried to address these things over the last few weeks.. --- Discussing is a nice way to spend one's time, but what I was talking about was deciding. Here, final decisions are made by IB, not by the community. One point why we want to build up an alternative.
I think there is a line we've drawn... --- Well, that's what you think, but I think that were not we who have drawn the line, but you personaly. That's OK, because that's the wikitravel way of organisation. We (those who want to fork) want to try an other way and contributors will decide what they like more.
I think that's been the big lesson from the ToC move. ... --- This was not the first lesson on this theme, but the first one that was big enough that you could understand. Let's hope you will remember even after some months. I already had been quite upset after you have had spread your first RDF "examples" without having discussed them. I'm convinced that many contributors would appreciate to find an alternative without an over-mighty superuser.
Well, you have asked for my ideas about improvements and I did tell you some of my basic points. For the next future, I'll concentrate on organizing the fork rather than trying things that didn't succeed in the past, i.e. changing your way of leading wikitravel. People are different and there are many different kinds of mentality. For sure, there will be a lot of contributers feeling perfectly comfortable with wikitravel.org. Maybe, there are others that prefer to take over more responsibility (and liberty) for the community they are working with and its organisation. Let choose each what (s)he likes more. The most important thing is that we work together for the same aime, to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable world-wide travel guide.
-- Hansm 14:14, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
I hope you re-consider and instead work with the rest of the community here to keep improving Wikitravel. --Evan 20:09, 2 July 2006 (EDT)

Removed section[edit]

I don't understand your suggestion to operate like an independent users group. What we'll need is a dedicated server to run the wikis. I never have heard that users groups get paid a server from somebody.

The idea is that if your concern is about user input into the process, you spend your time, money, and effort on that, rather than on servers and developers. It sounds like you have a social problem (user decision making, mostly on de: but also on other Wikitravel versions) and a technical solution (servers, DBs, MediaWiki). --Evan

I think you already know quite well our concerns. So, I'll keep it short:

No, actually, I don't. I've tried to follow your conversations in German through Google Translate, but we haven't talked directly about them. I appreciate that you've taken the time to present your case here. Direct communications are the best way to get problems taken care of! --Evan

There are things you cannot correct any more since you have sold your control over wikitravel.org:

I don't think I was clear; I meant that I'd like us to work together to correct the problems, not that I would correct them unilaterally by fiat. There are many other voices that should be heard, which is why an open conversation is needed. --Evan
  • Independance from profit oriented organisation.
One nice thing about the ToC discussion was finding out that this is really important for German culture. At least in the USA, and some other parts of the world, there's more of a feeling that Open Source and Open Content, and community interaction, can be developed using a commercial platform (SourceForge, Wikia). I think my point about starting a WUG is that you could have this independence, member voting, etc., without having the expense of running your own servers and the effort of building up an anti-brand. You could continue the work and momentum that's gone into making Wikitravel well-known.
I won't bother you with this idea again; it wouldn't be very "independent" if you did it exactly how I said! B-) --Evan
  • Democratic community decissions not only about contence, but even about
    • how the server(s) are maintained,
    • whether advertising is necessary or not,
    • how db-dumps are made available,
    • which server-provider is choosen,
    • who has to administrate the server(s),
    • what features should be implemented and how this should be done.
So, I think we've tried to address these things over the last few weeks with the Wikitravel:Technical infrastructure policy for Wikitravel; everybody on Wikitravel has a voice in how the software works. w/r/t advertising, when the time comes that there's going to be advertising on Wikitravel, there will be a discussion on how it works. If someone thinks that discussion needs to be started now, they're free to create Wikitravel talk:Advertising policy.
I think there is a line we've drawn in the infrastructure policy between things that readers and contributors see (UI features, performance), and stuff they don't see (layout of config files on the servers, backup schedule). I think the Wikitravel community's attention and effort is best spent working on the goals of the project, not on running a Web server like a kibbutz. I don't know of a site that runs this way; I know in particular that Wikimedia Foundation's technical infrastructure is not determined by majority vote. --Evan
  • More equality in the rights of the language versions.
  • I think this is a valid principle, but I'm not sure what it would mean in practice. --Evan
  • Seperate the english version from making decisions that affect all other language versions. Those decisions have to be elaborated on shared: or review:, not on en:
    That's a great idea. I like that a lot. I don't think that it would make sense on review, since the whole point of that site is to be a scratchpad; I want to be able to replace its DB and language interface with copies from other languages as needed. So it would probably have to be shared:. What kinds of decisions would move there? Technical ones (bug reports, feature requests), or others, too? I could see some of the multi-lingual policies go out there, as well as language version expeditions. --Evan
  • More support for non-english versions.
    Support in terms of technical support? Or other kinds of support? --Evan
  • More authonomie for language versions, i.e.
    • elected Bureaucrats, not only Evan,
      Riggwelter brought this up earlier. Now that we're up to the same version (just about) as the Wikimedia servers, we can do this. I'd love to see this job joined with being a go-between. --Evan
    • access to its wiki-configuration and its db for some elected admins.
      I wonder if making technical requests faster would make this unnecessary. I'll be honest: I'd be very concerned about that. --Evan
  • Accept that there are many wikitravellers that are able to write Mediawiki extensions, some probably better than Evan.
    I accept the fact that many people can write MW extensions, but I challenge anyone who thinks they can do it better than me to a programming shoot-out. B-) On a serious note, I wonder if there's a point to this, though. Do you think we should have a more formal policy about accepting code submissions from Wikitravellers and others? Or about scripts? --Evan
  • Discuss new ideas or improvements for features before having them implemented yourself.
    I think that's been the big lesson from the ToC move. That's why we have a review site and why Maj and I have moved our programming projects to Wikitravel:Feature requests. --Evan
  • Accept that some development of features needs a master plan rather than tinkering one next to the other without having an idea how the final result will look like. This requires open minded discussions in advance.
    I guess that this comes particularly from your experience with the Wikitravel:RDF Expedition. This is actually a software development philosophy question, and I much prefer getting software developed and rolled out for review quickly rather than getting bogged down in a master plan. The idea is that you should deal with the problems you have now, and don't borrow problems from the future, and you'll save time and effort because you may never actually have those future problems. I think with respect to the RDF Expedition there's still a lot of architectural work to be done, which might mean re-writing some of the stuff that's been done already. I think that encapsulating RDF in templates makes this much easier to do. --Evan

-- Hansm 05:11, 2 July 2006 (EDT)

To summarize: overall, I think you have some very good ideas, especially regarding the role of en: and other language versions. At least to begin with, I'm going to copy a few of them to the Wikitravel:Language version policy and Wikitravel:Technical infrastructure policy talk pages.
I'd suggest that you continue to work with me and Maj, IB, the en: community and the other Wikitravel language version communities to see if we can work out these problems together. Many of them sound workable to me, and although I'd have problems with others, I'd like to think we can come to some reasonable compromises. --Evan 11:36, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Dear Evan, is this the new way of discussing on WT? If you should have forgotten your policies, please read Wikitravel:Using_talk_pages#Etiquette. You have completely messed up my posting. Nobody else would be able to understand who has written which parts of our discussion. I'd strongly suggest that you revert your edits and bring them into a suitable form. If done so, I can give some replies. -- Hansm 12:24, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
It's very common, when replying to a point-by-point discussion, to intersperse comments with the original points. I specifically signed each paragraph so it would be clear who wrote what. Since it's not helpful for you, I've reverted, but moved this discussion to a separate page for reference. --Evan 12:48, 2 July 2006 (EDT)

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